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Counseling and Psychological Services

Sorensen Trust for the Study of British Object Relations

Description of the Trust

The University of Virginia’s Thomas C. Sorensen Child Psychotherapy Trust exists to expand access to the knowledge base of Psychoanalytic British Object Relations Theory.  A recent expansion of the Trust will permit funds to be used beyond the field of child psychotherapy.  Dr. Pamela Sorensen, a British trained child psychotherapist/psychoanalyst and widow of Tom Sorensen, has developed the Trust with the intent that it be used more broadly by academics and mental health professionals to study the rich theoretical, clinical and applied fields of British Object Relations Theory over the full range of human development.

In addition to the Trust’s utilization by mental health clinicians, Trust funds are also now available to academics, educators, physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals.  Essentially the trust is now open to all qualified individuals who are interested in conducting research or further developing their competencies in the applied or theoretical studies of literature, history, political theory, socio-cultural issues or the clinical social sciences. 

What Is British Object Relations Theory?

The phrase "British Object Relations" refers to developments in psychoanalytic theory that began in the early 1920’s with the work of Melanie Klein.  This area of theoretical development has mostly emerged through psychoanalytic schools of thought within the United Kingdom and has continued to evolve through contemporary analytic theory and applied practice.  This broad body of work organizes around the significance of the earliest relationships between self and important others, how these relationships are held in the mind and how this continues to influence individuals’ contemporary mental representations, affects, cognition and interpersonal experience.  

Application to the Trust for Grant Funding

The Trust will consider applications for grant funding on an annual basis up to a total of $4000 per applicant.  Individual grant applications may be made by academic faculty, medical professionals, mental health and allied health professionals and students interested in pursuing scholarly investigation or applied clinical training in the area of British object relations.  Applications are invited from all qualified individuals, independent of any association with The University of Virginia. 

The outcome of any grant-related study should result in a completed project which will benefit the broad based academic and/or clinical mental health communities associated with The University of Virginia. 

Examples of completed grant projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Presentation of a scholarly paper to UVa academic and/or clinical mental health audience
  • Presentation of completed research project findings to UVa academic and/or clinical mental health audience
  • Provision of clinical object relations training to UVa based mental health clinicians
  • Written synopsis and verbal presentation of clinical training received through grant funding
  • Completion of written paper intended for publication
  • Provision of written proposal for clinical or academic program development based upon object relations theory.
  • Provision of written proposal and implementation plans for academic or clinical conference pertaining to British object relations 

Please submit a written trust application which includes the following components:

  • Cover letter and curriculum vita
  • List of three professional references with contact information
  • Statement of intent for utilization of grant funds
  • Specific time period during which grant funding will be utilized
  • Written description of academic/clinical/professional background that contributes to current interest in British object relations
  • Identification of specific grant related activities, itemization of specific anticipated costs and request for amount of grant funding
  • Description of final project to be delivered to UVa community, including anticipated audience or individuals to whom the project will be delivered  

Application materials should be sent to:

Sorensen Trust Application Review Committee
Counseling and Psychological Services
Department of Student Health
University of Virginia
PO Box 800760
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0760

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